Page last updated at 18:26 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 19:26 UK

US man 'posed as his dead mother'

Thomas Prusik-Parkin, allegedly depicted on left disguised as his dead mother, with alleged accomplice Mhilton Rimolo (picture: Kings County District Attorney's office)
Mr Prusik-Parkin is allegedly shown here (left) impersonating his mother

A New York man has been arrested for impersonating his dead mother in order to claim $115,000 (£70,500) in social security benefits and rent subsidies.

Thomas Prusik-Parkin, 49, is accused by prosecutors of regularly dressing up in a wig, dress and make-up in order to fool the authorities.

The alleged scam has been going on ever since Mr Prusik-Parkin's mother, Irene Prusik, died in 2003 at the age of 73.

He faces charges of theft, forgery and conspiracy.

"I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother," Mr Prusik-Parkin said when he was arrested, according to police.

False information

Using a walking stick, heavy make-up and fake ID, and accompanied by a man posing as Mrs Prusik's nephew, Mr Prusik-Parkin would, according to prosecutors, collect benefit cheques, visit banks and even appear in court.

When Mrs Prusik died, Mr Prusik-Parkin is accused of giving her funeral director a false social security number and date of birth so that her death would not show up in government records.

He is then alleged to have started claiming $700 a month in social security benefits in her name on top of his own disability benefits.

Mr Prusik-Parkin has also been accused of filing for bankruptcy in his mother's name, and then collecting $39,000 in rent subsidies from the city government.

Another man, Mhilton Rimolo, 47, is accused of pretending to be Mrs Prusik's nephew, and was accompanying Mr Prusik-Parkin on 29 April when - posing as Mrs Prusik - he renewed a driving licence in her name.

Brooklyn police are reported to have been alerted to the alleged scam by a tip-off.

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